England’s Premiership clubs are considering the possibility of downsizing their Champions Cup contingent, according to a report in the Guardian.
It is believed that both the Rugby Football Union and the Premiership are keen to scrap relegation from the league, ring-fencing the tournament in the same way as the Pro14 championship is run.
One of the proposals on the table would see extra teams added to the Premiership, possibly up to 14 from the current 12, starting in the 2020/21 season.
Worried about player welfare in the event of additional fixtures, the stakeholders appear to favour fewer games in Europe.
The report claims that "there is a feeling that the Champions Cup has lost its aura with more than half of the Premiership taking part this season and fewer European matches would allow for an expanded top flight in England without adding to player workload."
The last restructuring of the European Cup came in 2014/15 when the French and English clubs, on the back of massive TV rights deals, insisted on a new set-up, which reduced the number of teams from 24 in the old Heineken Cup to the current 20 that compete in the Champions Cup.
For the first time since 2012 none of the seven qualified Premiership clubs made it past the quarter-final stages.
Leinster beat 2016 and 2017 champions Saracens, who were the only English side to emerge from the pool stages, on Sunday.
England, who won the Six Nations titles in those years, finished fifth in the table this year among suggestions that player workload led to fatigue in the squad.